Trump wipes 'piece of dandruff' off Macron's lapel in bizarre and awkward White House moment

It may have been a tiny flake of buttery croissant that had gone astray.

Or it may, as the press pool report suggested, been a piece of lint.

But Donald Trump was convinced the fleck he spotted on the left shoulder of Emmanuel Macron was a piece of dandruff – pellicule in French – and he felt equally certain he had to remove it – even in front of the whole world.

“We do have a very special relationship,” Mr Trump said as he and Mr Macron posed for photographs in the Oval Office. “In fact, I’ll me that little piece of dandruff off you….We have to make him perfect. He is perfect.”

There has long been talk of a growing bromance between Mr Trump and the French leader, something that started when the two engaged in a knuckle-whitening handshake that apparently showed how tough both of them are.

Ahead of Mr Macron’s three-day state visit, the first foreign leader to be honoured with a state visit since Mr Trump was elected, there was much talk of the French leader’s reputation as the ‘Trump Whisperer’ – someone who could work with the US leader, even if he did not agree with him on everything.

At the same time, experts have warned Mr Macron against playing up that aspect of the relationship too much: everyone knows that Mr Trump hates to be “handled”.

It’s possible therefore, Mr Trump’s seemingly friendly gesture in front of the cameras, was nothing less than a very calculated and planned take-down of his guest before he had the opportunity to get ahead of himself.

All the more easy for Mr Trump to then gush about his guest: “He did a good job, a great job. He’s going to be a great president of France. Only a prediction.”